Thursday, August 28, 2008

Running from the past: Breakfast with Jesus IX

An Easter sermon from John 21: part IX
“We might be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us.” Perhaps you might feel a little like Simon. You started well, full of hope and promise. You wanted to follow Jesus wherever that path might have led. Maybe it was even exciting for a while, but after a failure, or a series of little disappointments, you’ve decided it makes more sense to return to ‘normal’ life, to focus on financial security or seeking a sense of personal fulfilment. Maybe you still come to church occasionally, or even fairly regularly, but inside you’re somewhere else.

In any case, your life that was once filled with hope and promise now feels compromised, complicated, tarnished and tangled. There are parts of it you’ve tried to jettison or hide, relationships you’ve attempted to abandon. You want to be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with you. What are you running from? What have you tried to sweep under the carpet?

Jesus waits on the shore, ready to provide abundantly. He will give us a new start, but not an easy amnesia. The only new start possible involves the scary necessity of learning to see ourselves as we truly are in all our brokenness, all our need, all our failures and squandered opportunities. Seeing ourselves as we are and finding that even that, no matter how bad, doesn’t stop the cleansing flow of Jesus’ love. He will not take away our pain, sorrow and guilt, but he will take it and re-make it into something beautiful. He will not simply accept us, but he will make us new, starting a lifelong process of renovation and healing. He will not throw out all the broken pieces of our lives, but slowly put them together again as they were always meant to be. He doesn’t need rock solid faithful followers who have purged their lives of all problems; he invites us to share all we are, to come with our frailty and sickness and sorrow.

So jump out of the boat. It begins this morning. We will confess our failures, our brokenness, our need. I acknowledge that my past is my past and hear God’s free acceptance. We receive Jesus’ gift, his body and blood given for us, with empty hands. We eat and share in his life.

And we are not left passive. No, the good shepherd invites us to join him in his own most important and delightful and difficult task: caring for one another. So jump out of the boat. Come and eat with the risen Jesus.

We are running and scared. Chase us with your love.
We are in denial and avoidance. Confront us with your truth.
We are hurt and broken. Heal us with your mercy.
We are hungry for life. Feed us with your body and blood.
Series: I; II: III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Byron.

Tony C said...

I found this very moving.

Glad I found your blog becasue I most enjoy your writing.

byron smith said...

Mik - no prob.

Tony - Thanks for letting me know. Welcome to my blog.